Established in 1877, the University of Colorado Library began with a one-room library in Old Main, the first building on campus. By 1902 the first free-standing library was constructed, but it would not be until 1939, with the move into a new building, that the Treasure Room was established as a separate space staffed by volunteer English Department faculty. While the 1950s brought expansion of the space and formal policies and procedures, it was not until 1963 that the library appointed the first associate director for Special Collections. The Department is relatively young in the world of special collections and rare books and has grown through acquisitions and gifts from faculty, alumni, and friends of the University.
The Department's holdings consist of 90,000 volumes and several hundred linear feet of manuscript materials, with only thirty percent reflected in the online public catalog. It is strong in nineteenth and twentieth century British and American literature and works about travel and expeditions. Manuscript collections focus on the literary papers of authors with a connection to the University or state. The foremost special subject collections are the Mountaineering Collection, the Women Poets of the Romantic Period Collection, the Photobook Collection, and a significant teaching collection of 500 artists' books. The Mountaineering Collection is international in scope, numbers roughly 8,000 volumes, and complements the holdings of the American Alpine Club library in Golden, Colorado. Books in the 450-volume collection of British women poets date from 1770 to 1839. The Photobook Collection, established in the 1990s with the purchase of two separate collections, is a visual record of the twentieth century and is a growing collection of 15,000 volumes.
University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
Special Collections Department
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, Colorado 80309
(303) 492-6144 (t)
(303) 492-1881 (f)